For our first round of benchmarks, we ran all of the modules built into Futuremark's PCMark Vantage test suite which was updated using the November 2007 Hotfix. Vantage is a new Windows Vista-only benchmarking tool that we've incorporated into our arsenal of tests here at HotHardware. Here's how Futuremark positions their new benchmarking tool:
"The PCMark Suite is a collection of various single- and multi-threaded CPU, Graphics and HDD test sets with the focus on Windows Vista application tests. Tests have been selected to represent a subset of the individual Windows Vista Consumer scenarios. The PCMark Suite includes CPU, Graphics, Hard Disk Drive (HDD) and a subset of Consumer Suite tests."
The overall PCMark Vantage score is derived from the subset of individual scenarios and suite tests, calculated in total "PCMarks". Here are the overall results:
The highest set of scores belong to the XPS 630 using lower latency RAM - note how the score drops when using DDR2-800 Hynix DIMMs that although faster than the Samsung DDR2-667 have the highest latency of the bunch, at 6-6-6-18. Using any set of memory, the XPS 630 with its Core 2 Quad CPU outpace our Core 2 Duo based reference system by close to 20%.
"Our memories are often kept in digital form. Here, large digital photos in HD Photo format are stretched, flipped and rotated using the CPU. Plenty of system memory is highly beneficial for manipulating large images. Importing digital photos to Windows Photo Gallery is where a high performance HDD shines. More and more image manipulation is being done using the GPU, enabling instantaneous color correction, sharpening and softening of images. Home video editing with Windows Movie Maker can be very time-consuming – unless you have a high performance HDD. Home videos recorded on digital video cameras are sometimes transcoded and transferred to a portable media player. High definition videos are often archived in media servers. It may, however, be handy to have them transcoded and transferred to a portable media player. A fast CPU with many cores can handle transcoding swiftly." - Futuremark
The PCMark Vantage "Memories" suite includes the following tests:
Memories 1 - Two simultaneous threads, CPU image manipulation and HDD picture import
Memories 2 - Two simultaneous threads, GPU image manipulation and HDD video editing
Memories 3 - Video Transcoding: DV to portable device
Memories 4 - Video Transcoding: media server archive to portable device
In Memories, the scores get bounced around a bit, with the top score going to the XPS 630 when configured using the lowest clocked memory in the bunch. The reference system isn't completely blown away in this round, coming much closer to the score of the Dell using the CAS 6 rated Hynix memory than we had expected.
"High definition TV broadcasts and movies have arrived. Playing an HD DVD with additional HD content, a Blu-ray movie, or watching HDTV smoothly (while making a backup of an HD DVD by transcoding to a media server or transcoding from a media server archive to a portable media player) requires lots of computing and graphical power. Windows Media Center with a high performance HDD can handle simultaneous video recording, time-shifting, and streaming to an Extender for Windows Media Center, such as Xbox 360™."
Vantage TV and Movies suite includes the following tests:
TV and Movies 1 - Two simultaneous threads, Video transcoding: HD DVD to media server archive, Video playback: HD DVD w/ additional lower bitrate HD content from HDD, as downloaded from the net
TV and Movies 2 - Two simultaneous threads, Video transcoding: HD DVD to media server archive, Video playback, HD MPEG-2: 19.39 Mbps terrestrial HDTV playback
TV and Movies 3 - HDD Media Center
TV and Movies 4 - Video transcoding: media server archive to portable device, Video playback, HD MPEG-2: 48 Mbps Blu-ray playback
Vantage's TV and Movies test returns the Corsair Dominator equipped version of the XPS 630 back to the forefront, outrunning the other installed DIMMs by anywhere from 150-200 PCMarks. Similar to the overall Vantage score, no matter how you configure the memory in the XPS 630, it's performing well.